Pragmatic Spirituality: The Christian Faith Through an Africentric Lens

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NYU Press, Jul 1, 2004 - Religion - 323 pages
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Gayraud S. Wilmore, an internationally renowned scholar of the history of the African American church, is one of the founders of black theology and author of Black Religion and Black Radicalism. Pragmatic Spirituality brings together some of his most compelling writings to speak to continuing issues in African American Christianity and black theology. The volume makes available for the first time several of Wilmore's previously unpublished essays, including a new chapter on womanist theology written for this book. Each chapter has been thoroughly reviewed and where appropriate reworked for this volume in order to create a coherent work which reveals a consistent "pragmatic spirituality" in African and African American religious practice. This book presents a view of the Christian faith and life at variance with the quest for personal sanctity by emphasizing communal empowerment for humanization and justice.

Pragmatic Spirituality incorporates some of the most engaging of Wilmore's voluminous writings to reinstate a persistent theme: that black or Africentric faith transposes itself from basically numinous and ecstatic elements in African and African diasporic religions to the immediate and practical work of healing and empowering the poor and marginalized. This book transcends a narrow Africentrism to call for a broad acquaintance with a historic motif in black faith that has to do with compassion, justice, equality, and the liberation of all people.

This illuminating volume displays Wilmore's influence on the development of black theology for over fifty years, and introduces his work to a new generation of scholars.

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About the author (2004)

Gayraud S. Wilmore is emeritus professor of church history at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta and a past-president of the Society for the Study of Black Religion. Before retirement from the ITC in 1990 he taught African American religious history at Pittsburgh Seminary, Boston University, Colgate Rochester Divinity School, and New York Theological Seminary. He has written or edited twelve books and lectured widely in the U.S., England, Africa, and southeast Asia.

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